The email scam du jour is an email scam promising government grants. One of the highly prevalent ones is from an alleged company called “Rapid Grants Solutions Kit”. I decided to search for them. This time I used Google, Yahoo, Live.com, and Ask.com. In al cases the results looked pretty shady.
The results with Google provided some sponsored links. The top paid link, “The Grants Review.Com” included the following text to entice clickers to go to their web site:
“Warning! Want To Get A Grant? Do Not . Read This Warning.”
The site claims “As seen on MSN, CNBC, CNN, CBS News, ABC, WSJ.COM, but they do not link to any of these company’s web sites to allow you to verify that anything was written about them at all, or that it was anything more than a paid advertisement. Anyone can place a logo on their web site. The presence of the logo is not proof of anything. The most highly recommended “grant site” by thegrantsreview.com is earncashfromgrans.com.
The top hit on Yahoo, Live.com, and Ask.com was earncashfromgrants.com. So, essentially the four search engines landed with the same top hit.
I decided to check on www.earncashfromgrants.com. They have a nifty little calculator to help determine if you might be eligible for a grant. Actually, the calculator is to determine how likely you are to fall for a scam, I think. So, I decided to try it out. For some reason they want your first name. I entered “Howard”. Next they want your current marital status. I told them that “Howard is living with a significant other”. “Howard earns over $150,000 per year, has lived at his current residence for 10 to 20 years, is employed, and was born in 1948.
Congratulations HOWARD, You Could Be Well On Your Way To Becoming One Of The Countless People Who Have Already Claimed Their Government Grant Money.
Wow, I even got 3:15 minutes to claim my Rapid Grants Solutions Kit!!! Particularly funny was the testimonial with the disclaimer “*Results were not typical. Individuals has been remunerated.” This is a fancy way of saying that getting a government grant is not typical and they paid someone to say they had received a grant.
Next I decided to see if Satan qualified for a grant. I decided that Satan was single, made $0 to $35,000 per year, lived at his current residence for more than 20 years, was self employed and born in 1990. They do check, you have to be 18 or older! The results?
“Congratulations SATAN, You Could Be Well On Your Way To Becoming One Of The Countless People Who Have Already Claimed Their Government Grant Money!”
OK, one last chance. I told them I was Lehman Brothers…
“Congratulations LEHMAN BROTHERS, You Could Be Well On Your Way To Becoming One Of The Countless People Who Have Already Claimed Their Government Grant Money!”
OK, there is some credibility there!
When you try to leave their site it pops up a message box saying “Hey Wait! A live agent has a special discount for you!” but it is a chatbot and not a live agent. http://www.earncashfromgrants.com obviously lies.
The Yahoo search yielded a warning that one of the sites in the results is a potentially harmful website. This site did not show up in the first page of any other search engine though.
The cash for grants emails are scams and adwords do not mean you are dealing with an honest or reputable company.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, We Live Security